Krugthulhu Versus The Lobbyist With A Thousand Bills

And it came to pass that Shrill Krugthulhu rose from the Keynesian depths to fight the dreaded ALEC, the Lobbyist With A Thousand Bills, all eerily similar and wholly devoted to privatizing the hell out of local and state governments in the name of darkness and creating Stand Your Ground laws all over the place.  Thus, mighty Krugthulhu became Tired Of This Nonsense and spake:

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.

And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.

And lo, Krugthulhu was uninvited from even more Sensible Centrist Villager cocktail parties, which was a relief for the Villagers because to gaze upon Krugthulhu’s awesome beard was to behold sanity itself, something the Villagers were simply not equipped to deal with.  Meanwhile, the forces of ALEC skittered away from the light to cause chaos in November…

Seriously guys, pretty much every single evil-ass piece of legislation that seems to end up across all the red and purple states at once since 2009: Arizona’s “Papers, please!” immigration law, Texas’s transvaginal ultrasound law, the personhood movement in Mississippi, Wisconsin’s union attack, Florida’s private prisons, and Ohio’s heartbeat abortion law, and gun laws like Stand Your Ground all have ALEC’s ugly fingerprints all over them.  Karoli over at Crooks and Liars has been bulldogging these guys for months now.  The playbook is simple: send everything to the state legislature, the Supreme Court or to the” Tyranny of the Majority” constitutional referendum route, or all three, until they win.  If they don’t, do it again.  Eventually it becomes a “public groundswell” of the people “clamoring” for this stuff.

And always attack, attack, attack.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    One thing you can’t say about ALEC is that they’ve been ineffective. In fact it seems almost essential to think about a liberal counterpart. Think about it: Republicans win one wave election, and instantly they have this ready-made legislative agenda to roll out in state after state after state. Even if their bills get blocked in one state they’ll surely get passed in many more. Even if Republicans get thrown out this year, which may or may not happen, they’ve still gotten a lot done (and inflicted a lot of damage) because they were ready with these pre-written bills from day 1.
    __
    Conversely, if I can switch from state to federal for the sake of rhetorical effect, Obama came into office with a strong mandate for health care reform, but the bill itself had to be hashed out through an ugly year-long legislative process, which sapped a lot of momentum (not to mention the filibuster-proof majority). Imagine how much more smoothly things could have gone, and how unified the message could have been, if there had already been a pre-written bill on day one. Now maybe this couldn’t have worked in the specific example of health care but surely it holds true in many cases.
    __
    The only concern I have about a liberal equivalent to ALEC is that conservatives would surely do a much better job of publicizing and demonizing it than the Democrats have done with ALEC itself. But still, majorities are fleeting. If you want to accomplish the maximum when you have a big majority, then you can’t wait until everyone is sworn in to start thinking about what you actually want to accomplish. And if liberals don’t write the laws then the lobbyists surely will.

  2. 2
    Mike G says:

    it’s very much a movement-conservative organization

    I prefer the term “bowel-movement-conservative”.

  3. 3
    gnomedad says:

    OT, something needs to be changed in style or position of the rotating tag line. It looks like a caption for the ad above it.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    OT, sorta:

    Hey all you blind people! Your life doesn’t suck enough! Go f#ck yourself.

    Signed,
    Missouri State Republicans

  5. 5
    kerFuFFler says:

    I am embarrassed to admit that I had not heard of ALEC—-but I suppose they are trying to operate under the radar. Too bad they’ve been so successful. Talk about “ramming legislation down the throats” of Americans.

  6. 6
    Daaling says:

    I just want to say that Corrections Corporation of American is such a cool private corporate name in such a subversively evil way. Right up there with evil movie private corporations like Weyland-Yutani, “building better worlds” from Alien(s). and Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as the private owner of the Detroit police force in RoboCop.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t real. Sadly, truth is stranger than fiction. You know what would make a good movie plot. CCA having a prisoner intentionally killed so that Cheney could get his heart. A totally believable plot unfortunately.

    It’s fucking depressing.

  7. 7
    Daaling says:

    I just want to say that Corrections Corporation of America is such a cool private corporate name in such a subversively evil way. Right up there with evil movie private corporations like Weyland-Yutani, “building better worlds” from Alien(s). and Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as the private owner of the Detroit police force in RoboCop.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t real. Sadly, truth is stranger than fiction. You know what would make a good movie plot. CCA having a prisoner intentionally killed so that Cheney could get his heart. A totally believable plot unfortunately.

    It’s fucking depressing.

  8. 8
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Steve:

    OT: How’d you get your line breaks to work? I’ve tried the html for paragraph breaks with no success.

    Let’s try it again…

    Testing.

    ETA: Nope, no joy.

  9. 9
    PeakVT says:

    @Steve: I’d love to see a liberal equivalent but who would fund it? “Unions” is the obvious answer, but collectively can they put $5-10 million per year into such a project?

    @kerFuFFler: They operate at the state level which doesn’t get the attention it should (I’m guilty of that).

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    The blew up the Chicken Man!

    And they blew up his house too!

  11. 11
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @PeakVT:

    Of course not. Even if they could afford it, Unions are a known quantity to everyone. They’ve already got attacks primed and ready the moment Unions try this kind of high-level advocacy. ALEC is under the radar enough that attacking them is easily twisted as conspiracy theory bullshit. Until more light is shined onto them by folks like KThug and others, ALEC has the inborn-advantage.

    Which is why they keep fucking winning.

  12. 12
    Gus says:

    We have three wing nut dream constitutional amendments going on the ballot here in (formerly) sensible Minnesota: a “right to work” measure, an anti-gay marriage measure, and a voter ID measure, all of which will likely pass and begin to render my state a colder Nebraska. It’s going to take decades to undo the damage that this wingnut state legislature is doing. I think Minnesotans have no idea how good they have it, and won’t really get it until its gone.

  13. 13
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Steve:

    in fact it seems almost essential to think about a liberal counterpart.

     
    The problem I can see with implementing this is that liberals just don’t work well with top-down marching orders. ALEC is a perfect fit for (A) the authoritarianism on the right, and (B) the dishonesty of your average GOP legislator, where it is always bait-and-switch time.
     
    If we had a liberal equivalent to ALEC, we’d still be arguing over the shape of the table used to draft the legislation on, and it would be worst-kept secret in the world.

  14. 14
    kc says:

    What the heck, why is everything on the page centered? Looks like hell.

  15. 15
    MonkeyBoy says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:
    __
    Note: for those of you who would like your paragraphs to be separated by blank lines you can use my hack, copyright 2009, to generate them.
    __
    To make a blank line use a line that just contains two under score characters.
    __
    This work because our FYWP still contains a module for character delimited font style. Wrapping some text in a pair of underscores, _like this_, will put “like this” in italics. Thus the blank lines this generates are really italic nothings.

  16. 16
    Mark S. says:

    Is there anything more stupid than privatizing the prison system? Why would anyone think that was a good idea?

  17. 17
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    OT: How’d you get your line breaks to work?

     
    I’m using html non-breaking spaces (ampersand n b s p semi-colon).
     
    It looks like that is working, at least in my browser.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    As an aside, the world recently observed the 75th anniversary of the death of HP Lovecraft, who gave us The Call of Cthulhu and cool references to Shrill Krugthulhu.
    __
    Also too, I am convinced that most of those who live in the Village are really Yithians.

    .

  19. 19
    catclub says:

    @MonkeyBoy: italic nothings

    __

    Another great band name.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    I would like a liberal equivalent to ALEC. I would also like a liberal blog with legible text.

  21. 21
    Egypt Steve says:

    A thousand bills? That’s one mean mother duck.

    Reminds me of a stupid old joke from junior high school. Dad comes home and the kid says to him, “Dad, there was a man here to see you earlier today.” Dad says, “Did he have a bill?” Kid says “No, just a regular nose like yours.”

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @Mark S.: “Is there anything more stupid than privatizing the prison system?”

    Privatizing the Courts.

    Privatizing tax collections.

    Privatizing the FCC.

    Privatizing the EPA.


    I could go on.


    Privatizing the Strategic Air Command.

  23. 23
    Egypt Steve says:

    @Culture of Truth: Wouldn’t that just basically be Alec Baldwin?

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @Mark S.: “Why would anyone think that was a good idea?”

    Money. SATSQ

  25. 25
    VOR says:

    Minnesota dodged a bullet in the 2010 election. There are now Republican majorities in both legislative houses, but Dem Mark Dayton won the Governorship. The Republican majority has been pushing these ALEC bills, including the “Castle Doctrine” bill similar to Florida’s self-defense bill, “right to work” anti-union legislature, Voter ID, and others. Governor Dayton specifically cited ALEC when vetoing a bill in February 2012. The Republicans are trying to get around the veto by passing all these things as proposed constitutional amendments which the Governor cannot veto. So the 2012 ballot in Minnesota will be full of these ALEC bills with few voters knowing much about them. But if Republican Tom Emmer had won the gubernatorial election then all these things would be law now. Minnesota would be in the same boat as Wisconsin.

  26. 26
    Capri says:

    What really strikes me from reading ALEC’s sponsor corporations is that along with the usual suspects, Koch Brothers, etc. there are many that seem out of place due to their main stream appeal.

    Kraft Foods?

    Coke a cola?

    If public pressure can get companies to drop Rush, maybe bringing these folks out into the light can get them to drop their support for this bunch of slimeballs.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    This is way OT, but in case anyone hasn’t noticed, both communists.com and socia1ists.com are directing to barackobama.com atm. ratf*ckery re: the ACA.

  29. 29
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    I read elsewhere that two underlines, might work…
    __
    …did it?
     
     
    (Trying the non-breaking space, too).
    __
    ETA: Both seem to work. Yay,

  30. 30
    Clime Acts says:

    What’s the consensus here on why Democratic politicians aren’t the ones to call out these under the radar right wing orgs and the elected Repubs who work with them?

    Why do we always hear about it sideways from people like the Krug?

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Argive says:

    @Mark S.:

    Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan had 2.6 million reasons to think that prison privatization was a good idea. Now they get to spend the next 28 and 17.5 years, respectively, in non-privatized federal penitentiaries.

  33. 33
    Xenos says:

    ALEC needs to be destroyed or neutralized. Plain and simple. If such an organization existed on the left you would have people spending millions of dollars per year to fund an army of activists and trouble-makers to discredit it and destroy it.

    We all need to remember that the other side has decided that we want to destroy the country, and so it is legitimate to pursue the moral equivalent of war on us and our institutions. It is about time our side found a way to take the initiative. Within the law, of course, which is more than we can say for the other side.

  34. 34
    Daaling says:

    Totally unrelated and yet somehow not. Even as we have this story of ALEC, a very powerful right wing organization successfully doing everything it can to ensure the US is hopelessly stuck in the 1950’s forever.

    Canada’s largest province just legalized prostitution today.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....le2381372/

    This gives you some idea how much further to the left Canada is. Or maybe it shows just how much farther to the right the US is. Or maybe both. All I can say is I am glad I don’t live in the US anymore. Although, the west coast isn’t as backwards and fucked up as redstate land. Can you imagine the uproar from the GOPers if this happened in California or NY or (gasp) heaven forbid some purple or reddish state?!

  35. 35
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Raven:
    Everything dies, that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back.

    This is a test:
    First paragraph. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

    New paragraph after two line breaks. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.
    __
    New Paragraph after 1 line break and line with double underscore. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

  36. 36
    Raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: This guy had been fighting the city about his chickens for years.

  37. 37
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    First paragraph. Blah blah blah.

    See, this is what keeps me coming back for more on this blog. The quality of the discourse. That, and the commentors really know how to distill a complex problem down to the core issues.

  38. 38
    Rafer Janders says:

    You know, Krugman’s formulation that conservatives aren’t actually for small government, they’re for privatized government, could actually be a very potent formulation. It’s something to remember when crafting messaging.

    Also, too, why is the text suddenly center-spaced? And who decided grey on white was more readable than black on white?

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Also, too, why is the text suddenly center-spaced?

    Because the web-designers didn’t want this to become known as a blog where the Left is always Justified. Moore Awards and all that rot, you know.

  40. 40
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    This seems like a lot of unnecessary work on everyone’s part for something that should just happen on its own as a matter of course…

  41. 41
    Mark S. says:

    Site looks great on FF. It’s a little messed up on Chrome and really messed up on IE.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    (Blushes.) Oh, you flatterer, you …

  43. 43
    gene108 says:

    Yawn…crazy liberals can’t win on the issues, so they turn to the politics of personal destruction…

    I wonder how many Democrat laws are written by George Soros? Media Matters? I wonder why the liberal MSM doesn’t report on this?

    Both sides do it, it’s just the Republican side wins.

    /sarcasm

  44. 44
    David in NY says:

    @Mark S.:

    Site is looking better on FF, but still weird (maybe the teensy font). And the glass is half full.

  45. 45
    PurpleGirl says:

    Wandered back over to the thread and, surprise, surprise, there are comment numbers.

    That is all.

    ETA: And it looks like the font size is larger, too.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    Yea for numbers and Kthug!

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    The problem I can see with implementing this is that liberals just don’t work well with top-down marching orders. ALEC is a perfect fit for (A) the authoritarianism on the right, and (B) the dishonesty of your average GOP legislator, where it is always bait-and-switch time.

    It may be helpful to have some model legislation as a starting point, but I don’t think you can generate good legislation by copy and paste. That’s much less of a problem for organizations like ALEC that are focused on destroying government, and consequently uninterested in writing really good laws. If they accidentally make a law with awful unintended consequences, that will just further the mission of undermining the public’s faith in government. That’s obviously not the case for people who want a government that really works.
    __
    Also, too, we now have enormous comment numbers!

  48. 48

    Suggest the comment numbers are lighter please?

    Otherwise, PeakVT maybe you might want to add this to your stylesheet:

    .commentnumber { color: #ccc !important }

  49. 49
    David in NY says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    font size is larger

    You’re just getting used to it.

    And wait — that date and time stamp keeps moving around. Now it’s above the numbers. Maybe OK, but still — couldn’t Cole have hired an actual designer?

  50. 50
    Tony J says:

    Comment numbers. Left-sided justification. Poster names under the header.

    __

    Solve the empty space and grey text problems and BJ is back and proud.

    __

    Though, where are the inappropriate and often sexually charged adverts? Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, Cole.

    ETA – Though still no paragraph breaks, and being stranded on the Edit function makes for a lonely experience and grey thoughts.

  51. 51
    Linnaeus says:

    To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

    I call it neofeudalism, but this is probably a better way to explain what’s going on in terms of communicating with voters.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    And post bylines are back! O frabjous day!

  53. 53
  54. 54
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: Getting downright legible, calloo callay! Let’s hope they don’t go overboard will all this functionality. We’d be lost. At least the yawning trolls will always be with us along with the need for zozializm.

    ETA: Editing?
    ETA: Still odd, whew.

  55. 55
    TooManyJens says:

    Oh, comment numbers, I love you.
    __
    I also love black text and a bit of space between lines, because my eyes and I are nearing middle age. Just sayin’.

  56. 56
    Djur says:

    Hey, everything looks fine in elinks…

  57. 57
    eyelessgame says:

    Headline win.

  58. 58
    Nutella says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    __

    First paragraph. Blah blah blah.

    __
    Waaiiittt a minute there, Amir.
    __
    Didn’t you really say
    __

    First paragraph. Black black black.

  59. 59
    A. Kasin says:

    Conservatives would surely do a much better job of publicizing and demonizing it than the Democrats have done with ALEC itself.

  60. 60
    eyelessgame says:

    Text justification has a well-known leftist bias.

  61. 61
    Tonal Crow says:

    Not so OT anymore: I suggest smaller post numbers so that the first two lines of the comment don’t have to be indented.

    Testing multiple-paragraph blockquotes:

    This is paragraph 1.

    This is paragraph 2.

    Nope, doesn’t work. How about the double-underscore trick?

    This is paragraph 1.
    __
    This is paragraph 2.

    Works! But the edit feature doesn’t bring me back to the comments page after saving my edits.

  62. 62
    IM says:

    This Krugman guy, isn’t he part of the

    Professional Left?

    Just asking.

  63. 63

    __
    __
    Add this to the stylesheet so the giant post numbers don’t interfere
    __
       .ctext { clear: left }

  64. 64
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Nutella: Keep that filthy Santorum off this blog!

  65. 65
    ruemara says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I know it’s my design profession speaking, but you’re killing me with the quips.

  66. 66
    vernon says:

    because to gaze upon Krugthulhu’s awesome beard was to behold sanity itself, something the Villagers were simply not equipped to deal with.

    Sweet, dude.

  67. 67
    Alyse Deskin says:

    I think everyone involved is CRAZY PERIOD! My husband and I have been married for 37 years now. We have an occasional spat, but we work it out the way it is suppose to be. What happened to good ol’ Christian values, and the sanctity of marriage? Are grand kids will be all screwed up because of Mexico and this crazy idea. People should not have relationships until they are mature enough to make a life-long decision and stick to it. God help us!

Comments are closed.